McColl's hopes to snap up Tesco's One Stop chain

Convenience store chain McColl’s hopes to purchase “hundreds of stores” that could be sold off to alleviate competition concerns when Tesco’s takeover of Booker goes through, according to reports.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has not yet launched an investigation into the Tesco-Booker deal, but the industry expects it to scrutinise Tesco as it did in 2003 when the grocery retailer acquired One Stop. It is expected that Tesco, as Britain’s biggest grocery retailer, will be forced to sell hundreds of its Tesco Express stores, or possibly the full One Stop chain.

Booker supplies more than 5,400 stores – including Londis, Premier, Budgens and Happy Shopper brands - while Tesco owns 3,569 shops, which includes 2,839 small stores and 850 under the One Stop name.

McColl’s chief executive, Jonathan Miller, is reported to have said: “Dave Lewis knows where I am. Whether it’s the One Stop business or a number of stores, of course we would be interested in having a look. One Stop is very similar to our own model, so were that to become available we would be the most logical acquirer. We’d be very interested.”

The move comes five months after McColl’s acquisition of 298 Co-op stores was approved by the CMA. McColl’s now has an estate of 1,300 convenience stores and 350 newsagents.

The merger of Tesco and Booker is not expected to close until the end of this year, or the start of 2018.

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